photo © Heather Johnsgaard
It’s funny, but I never really considered myself a homesteader…
…that is until I joined the Steem platforms and somehow found myself drawn into a few communities, with a some of them being eco and homestead related. Who knew, I thought to myself.
All my adult life, more so in the last twenty+ years, I had essentially been living a homesteader’s lifestyle. For me it was just my everyday existence, but I soon came to realize there was a name for it, a community for it, and a growing attraction to it.
I am now part of several homesteading groups. Each one teaching me new things, allowing me to learn and grow within my chosen way of life, and I am thoroughly embracing it.
Most members cross over and you can be sure to find many familiar names within each group, fostering that true sense of community. While I find myself trying to participate within most, I tend to be most active within @homesteaderscoop as of late. It is wonderful to be able to relate to other homesteaders who are actively seeking to increase their own sustainability through not only creating wonderful products, but also offering them for sale to the general population. Yes, you too can purchase wonderfully hand made or natural products and seeds using US dollars, Steem or SBD at the Homesteaders Co-op.
But, perhaps you are still wondering,
what is homesteading and what does it really mean?
This, is not a simple question to answer, like everything in life, it is subjective to who is asking the question and who is answering it. Every definition and each response may have a different flavour; some sweet, some bitter, some profound, some simple.
Recently, I happened to be a guest on the Discord channel “The Ramble” @ramblingradio for their Creatives Coffee Hour hosted by @ArtemisNorth. This program, with its relaxed atmosphere, is a place for creatives to drop in and chat about projects they have going on. As a guest, this episode focussed on myself.
Along the way during the interview, @ArtemisNorth happened to ask me if I was a homesteader. Thankfully as I sat behind my computer screen in complete anonymity, no one saw the blank look on my face before I quickly answered that, yes, I believed I was.
it’s just my life… no label…. just me living life as best I can
Now, here I sit, a day later going over some parts of the interview in my head, wondering if I answered the question truthfully; wondering if anyone else may have seen comparisons to their life.
Thinking on it now… I can honestly and emphatically respond to her question and say, “Yes, I am a homesteader”!
So what does it take to be a homesteader?
Do you need a farm and livestock and a huge crop growing?
My answer to this may not be the same interpretation as someone else, but I believe you are a homesteader if you try to incorporate several activities or standards into you life on a regular basis wherever you are, which may include, among others, self-sustainability, ethics, handmade, and natural.
Breaking it down, it could look something like this but not limited to it:
- Being conscious of your own sustainability so you are not relying on others to survive. This may include:
- providing your own power
- growing your own food
- making your own clothes
- making your own tools
- Fostering ethical standards in the choices you make for what you buy, use and dispose of. Such as:
- Purchasing quality handmade over mass produced
- Purchasing ethically sourced, sustainable, organic and natural products
- Purchasing items which will have the least ill-effect on the environment and planet
- Making your own natural products, including cleaning supplies or remedies, rather than buying chemicals
- Trying to choose organic over genetically modified foods and seeds
- Support local farmers when you can, or from other homesteaders who foster a “caring for the earth” attitude. Their foods and seeds have probably not been sitting on the shelves for long, if at all, because they use what they sell themselves
- When you support your local farmers, you are supporting a neighbour or a friend rather than an unknown manufacturer
- Organic and non-GMO is much more healthy for you and your family
- Leaving as little an imprint on the earth as you can through reducing waste, recycling, reusing, and upcycling
- Using reusable produce and grocery bags keeps a lot of plastic out of landfills and from blowing around in the wind
- Choose glass containers over plastic if possible, if not, use reusable plastic rather than one time use plastics
- Turn old towels into rags or dusters or use them for spills instead of paper towels
- Compost what waste you can, recycle others and reuse or upcycle the rest into useable objects or decor
- Growing your own food sources
- If you don’t have land upon which to grow, use pots; many herbs, spices, veggies and fruits can be grown in pots
- If you consume meat it could include raising your own lifestock for meat and dairy or purchasing directly from organic and ethical farmers
- Trade your abundance with that of neighbours and friends for things they grow that you don’t
- Storing your own food
- Canning and preserving
- Crafting your own clothes, tools, accessories, crafts
- You can make your own clothing, produce bags, reuseable bags, tea towels, pillow cases and more from fabrics you currently have on hand, recycled sheets, vintage, lace, or from newer sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly fabrics
- Fashion home and garden furnishings from scrap wood like pallets or deadfall, twigs, rocks and pebbles, homegrown gourds
- Dried wreaths, handmade papers, and hand dyed textiles make wonderful gifts
As I mentioned above, I don’t like labels. Doing what you can, whether it be big or small, all in or just a little invested, we can all be homesteaders if we put our mind to it and take small steps. It can be challenging at times, but without challenge we can never grow or learn.
We can’t all always choose where we live, but we can choose how we live
I decided to see what the dictionary said a homesteader was. According to Wikipedia, this is what they have to say (take note of the last line):
photo © Heather Johnsgaard
Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Pursued in different ways around the world—and in different historical eras—homesteading is generally differentiated from rural village or commune living by isolation (either socially or physically) of the homestead. Use of the term in the United States dates back to the Homestead Act (1862) and before. In sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in nations formerly controlled by the British Empire, a homestead is the household compound for a single extended family. In the UK, the term ‘smallholder’ or ‘crofts’ is the rough equivalent of ‘homesteader’.
Modern homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar electricity and wind power. Many also choose to plant and grow heirloom vegetables and to raise heritage livestock. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make..
According to this, it looks like I am right on track, and you may be too but just never knew it. If you find you are actively seeking out similar values and choices, I encourage you to look into it further, perhaps you will find yourself making changes for a more self-sustainable life no matter wherever you are, no matter how big or small.
Homesteaders Co-op has been invited to participate in the Curation Corner at The Ramble (@ramblingradio) hosted by @ArtemisNorth and @shadowspub on January 29th; founder of the Homesteaders Co-op, @sagescrub will be there, and if I can make, I’ll be there too.
~Until next time this has been @thistle-rock ~